Category Archives: Personal

Now I Get It!

Bill loves Godzilla. While I watched Godzilla movies when I was growing up, and I enjoyed watching them, I can’t say that I love them. Recently, I had the chance to document a building demolition and now I get it! Watching the destruction was strangely exhilerating! It was amazing to see such a solid structure just fold at the touch of the bulldozers. It was a surprisingly fun shoot! Here are my favorites:

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New York Comic Con

My boyfriend, Bill, is a graphic designer and he loves comics and movies. He’s been going to Comic Con (San Diego and New York) for years, but this year he got to go for his work and they let me tag along. It was quite an experience and it was great for taking photos! Here are my favorites:

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Party Planning: Part 2…or, Beware Your Inner Do-It-Yourselfer!

Do you ever hear yourself saying, “I can make that!”  I do.  All the time! It’s my inner do-it-yourself voice that may, or may not be, evil…jury’s still out on that.  If I’m being positive, I tell myself that I’m just trying to save money, or that I’m being industrious or creative.  But more often than not, I have to check myself and make sure that I’m not being cheap, or puffing myself up just a little bit.  And is copying someone else’s work really being “creative”?

I think we all want to enjoy a sense of accomplishment, but I’ve witnessed too many well-intended hosts and hostesses who take on too much trying to do it all and stress themselves right out of having any fun, not to mention the toll they place on their loved ones who are just trying to help them!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like feeling stressed.  So when I started planning my party, I knew that there were some things I could definitely do myself and some things that would require help.  I made sure that I had a few clear, guiding goals to help keep me on track:

  1. Make sure that my guests were well-cared for so that my gratitude for all of their wonderful support would be made clear
  2. To have fun and not stress out.  I think it’s like bees and dogs smelling fear…guests can smell stress.

The Five Stages of Grief, er…I Mean Party Planning

I think that there are stages to the party-planning process, which come awfully close to the five stages of grief:

  1. Denial:   “I’m having a party!  Woohoo!  It’s going to be the best party ever! I’m going to hire a band and jugglers and serve really cute cocktails with killer appetizers and a three-course sit-down dinner for 100 people on my $300 budget. “
  2. Anger:  “It costs what!?!
  3. Bargaining:  “Okay, that’s fine.  I can cook all the food myself.  My kids can serve the food.  I’ll grow my own flowers.  Make my own party decorations and favors, too.  All for next to nothing.”
  4. Depression:  “No, I can’ t (do all of the above), and no one is going to come to my party.
  5. Acceptance:  “Well, the invitations already went out.  I put a deposit down on the hall.  I have to have a party now.”

Be Honest, Now..

In approaching my own party, I was brutally honest with myself and what I could actually do.  I know that I like to make things.  It does not stress me out.  So I knew that I would enjoy making garlands of little cloth flowers out of my old sheets, and that it would be pretty simple to make my own cakestands using the remaining pieces of my mom’s old wedding china that she was going to give to Goodwill.  I found joy in these activities, not stress.  I know, I’m one of those people.

But on the other hand, while I like to cook and bake a little, I knew that I could not make enough food and desserts for the whole she-bang. I knew I could make some things, but I also knew that I would need to call in some professionals and mom (same thing).  Sure, I would have enjoyed decorating one of the super cute and delicious flower cookies that Angela made for me.  And I would have felt really accomplished!  But icing all 100 of them?  I would’ve freaked out!  Not to mention having to bake and ice all of the cupcakes she made!  Same thing goes with Colleen who did the other desserts.  When Colleen offered to provide the baked items, she was super clear about what things she could make really well and really easily.  She knew what she wanted to do.  It gave me much joy to showcase their talents and share them with my friends.

Angela's too-cute cookies

Looking back, the day was not entirely stress-free.  I did stress out for about 45 minutes right before the party started.  The morning of the party did not go as expected and there were a few things that I had planned that didn’t happen.  No one knows about them except me.  Was I disappointed?  Sure, but just a little.  I had my priorities clear in my mind and if I had to let something go, I was braced for it.  It didn’t hit me on the day like a crisis.  I knew ahead of time that not everything would go as planned.

It’s Not a Contest

I think it’s a shame that “stress” is even a part of the party experience.  I often wonder if don’t use the feeling of stress to makes ourselves feel more important or that if our lives are so busy that we must be doing something terribly exciting!  And sometimes, I think we use it to excuse poor behavior.  I think we lose sight of the goal of our gatherings:  to exercise hospitality to our friends, family and neighbors.

From little kids’ birthday parties to big extravagant weddings, we get caught up in the stuff — the goody bags, the presents, the decorations, the food and entertainment.  I believe that all of those elements can be wonderful tokens of our love and can be used to great effect to express joy, gratitude, and even to mark the specialness of an occasion.  But I also think it’s too easy for us to enter into a contest of big, bigger, biggest.  I don’t know, maybe that’s why we all like those contest-style shows on Food Network.

Anyway, I wrote this series of posts to encourage my friends who like to entertain, but often feel drained from the experience.  I thoroughly enjoyed my party experience and think that I achieved my goals.  You’ll need to ask my guests, but based on the feedback I’ve received, a good time was had by all.  We’ll see if anyone comes to my next party!  Ha!

Happy Easter, everybody!

My Thank You Party…Part 1

So, I Had a Party…

Two weekends ago, I hosted an open house for my clients, friends, and family to say thank you for all the support and encouragement they have given me this past year.  Not only have I been blessed by all of the people who have welcomed me into their homes, intimate family gatherings and celebrations, but I have also been generously helped by many people along the way.  This party was an expression of my gratitude for all who have made this work of capturing and preserving life’s milestones possible.

I have a few reflections about this party that I’d like to share with folks, so I’m going to make this a multi-part post.  For example, I didn’t get to take many photos of my own party!  Ha!  A point that I’ll talk about more in upcoming posts.  So, reluctantly, I share with you the few photos I was able to snap before things really got started:

These next few are from my friend, Colleen’s iPhone!  Thanks, Colleen!

Clearly, we love food!

So, this first post is to say, well…thanks! With more than 90 guests coming in and out throughout the day, I could not have pulled it off without the help of my family and friends…

Some Shout Outs

I would like to thank some ridiculously helpful people who helped me bring this party together:

Colleen with her beautiful girls, Carly and Gillian, with a "g"

Colleen with her beautiful girls, Carly and Gillian, with a "G"

Colleen Greenway—  You might remember my friend, Colleen (a.k.a. The Crazy Canadian), from an earlier post about the holiday boutique we exhibited at together.  Colleen sells fabulous accessories, handbags, purses and more through her store Between Friends (a great source for bridesmaids gift, girls!  Just a note, her website is undergoing some changes, so if you would like more information about her goods, just email me and I’ll put you in touch.). Last fall, I photographed Colleen, her girls (pictured above) and their dogs.

As soon as I told Colleen what I wanted to do with this party, she jumped in with both feet!  Colleen lived up to her nickname and baked an amazing variety of cookies and desserts for the party.  If you sampled any of the delicious and beautiful lemon squares, buckeyes, brownies, ginger cookies, or mini chocolate chip cookies, those were all courtesy of Colleen.   But wait, there’s more…Colleen also helped me get everything plated and presented in the last few minutes before the party started.  Truly, I could not have gotten everything together without her help.  And wait, there’s even more, Colleen also introduced me to the wonderfully talented Angela Jolliffe of…

Angela is a budding business woman, too, and provided the amazing the cupcakes and flower cookies (which she designed to reflect my business logo…brilliant, Angela!  Thank you so much!) which were the takeaway gifts at the party.   If you saw her super cute wedding dress, onesie and dog bone cookies, you know that she is able to come up with great ideas for showers and parties of all kinds!  I will be doing some product photography for Angela very soon, so stay tuned to both her blog and mine!

Next, I want to say a HUGE THANKS to my lovely friends, Rachel and Kristen Metzger.  I met these two young women at Parkside Church’s Green Campus earlier this year.  Here they are singing at church:

Rachel and her dad, John

Kristen, pictured in the center

I asked these lovely young ladies if they would assist me in serving my guests at my open house.  These girls are grace embodied!  I knew that these sweet girls would look after my guests with kindness and love.  I just can’t say enough about them!  Thank you, Rachel and Kristen!

A huge thanks to Joe Durbin and Allison Brown, my babysitters extraordinaire!  These two kept the 3-foot and under crew entertained and busy!

I am deeply indebted to the Brown family– Michele, Matt, Calvin and Chloe, who stayed all day and helped me clean up.  You know how there are certain people who you don’t mind helping you with the clean up?  Well, Michele was my college roommate for four years, so she’s seen it all!  I don’t mind having her see my messes!  Ha!  Calvin and Chloe, thank you so much!  You were both wonderful helpers!

Chloe and Calvin at Christmas

To my generous and brilliant friend, Kelly Lee, in Philadelphia:  She is the voice of reason and guidance whenever I start planning big things like this.  Thanks for keeping me grounded, Kelly!  You can add another star to your tiara!

Thanks, too, to Jennifer and Dan Krieger and The Krieger family at large, who lent me a wide assortment of serving platters and airpots for my hot chocolate bar.  To Melissa Moldvay for lending me her various cooking tools and her hilarious Pampered Chef icing tool which is basically just a caulking gun for icing!  And to The Holmes family for lending me their beautiful and handy beverage dispenser!

And last, but not least, the most thanks to my family who helped me with food, set up and tear down, and just moral support in general.


Matt Brown, Live at the Improv

Mild-mannered Progressive analyst by day, killer comic by night, Matt Brown is Cleveland’s next great comic!  Look out, Drew Carey!

Matt Brown, Live at the Improv

Matt Brown, Live at the Improv

Matt is a good friend of mine who took part in a local comedy workshop and last night was the class’ graduation performance at The Improv in The Flats. While all of the comics did a great job, Matt killed.  Yeah, I know I’m biased, but he really did.  When I get a recording of the performance, I’ll post a link here so y’all can decide for yourself.  The night’s other standout comics included Chuck (I think his name was Chuck) and Courtney.  Sorry, guys, I don’t remember your last names, but I do remember that you were very, very funny!

Chuck from Wapakoneta Ohio

Chuck from Wapakoneta, Ohio

Hilarious Courtney

Hilarious Courtney

So, until I can link to the actual video, I just wanted to post some pics here for Friends of Matt who weren’t able to attend.

Great job, Matt!  It was a lot of fun!

Matt at the Improv

Matt at the Improv

Matt at the Improv

Matt at the Improv

Matt at the Improv

Matt at the Improv

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